Shannon is the second biggest town in County Clare and it is a wonderful place for a break where you can get away from all the hustle and bustle of day to day life and can simply unwind, see some spectacular scenery, visit some terrific attractions, eat wonderful food and meet some very interesting people. What more could you wish for? Shannon is not a large town, with less than 10,000 people. However, it is the gateway' to County Clare. From here, you can discover all the wonderful sights of County Clare and just step into another world, where life is slow, not rushed and feels very relaxed. You will probably need to hire a car when in County Clare, since it is best seen by car and gives you much more freedom than public transport. If you are fit, or simply want to get fit, then hiring a bike is another option. The weather in Shannon is quite wet, but otherwise quite temperate and it is a destination which you can visit any time of the year.
Only ten minutes away by car is one of Ireland's best known tourist attractions, Bunratty Castle and Folk Park; the castle is simply stupendous. It was completed in 1425 and is now restored to its full glory. It is also home to many 15th and 16th century tapestries, furniture and pieces of art. If you don't see anything else when in Shannon, then make sure you come here. The Folk Park is set in the grounds of the castle and features a living village where there are around 30 buildings and interpreters re-enact how life would have been lived in the 19th Century. It really is great fun for children of all ages. On the way out to Bunratty is the Ballycasey Craft Centre. This is set within an 18th century courtyard of a farmhouse and here you will find lots of traditional Irish crafts, as well as some new and innovative craft pieces. Driving out of Shannon and along the coast of County Clare is a wonderful scenic tour. There are some great spots, particularly around the Atlantic coastline, which is very wild and fierce. On the food front, there are some fantastic restaurants and bars in Shannon and indeed within County Clare itself. Being in such close proximity to the sea means that the seafood on offer here is very fresh and the chefs certainly know how to cook it well. The bars are also very good places to meet the locals and partake of some Irish hospitality. All in all, Shannon is a wonderful place and with such easy access to the West of Ireland, it makes it an ideal spot to act as a base, whilst you get out and about to fully explore the wonderful countryside. Traffic is very light, although you may occasionally get stuck behind a tractor. But such is the pace of life here: just enjoy it!
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